Barcelona’s players are growing frustrated with Josep Maria Bartomeu over his failure to deliver Neymar in the summer’s transfer window. Neymar has told former teammates in Spain that the Spanish champions have offered just 150 million euros for him, 100 million euros short of Paris Saint-Germain’s asking price. Neymar could join Real Madrid if he is unable to get his first choice.
Paper Round’s view: It is odd that the team should grow frustrated with Bartomeu. The club did not accept a bid from PSG, they merely bought the player out of his contract, and it was his own decision to leave. Surely it is better to bring in Antoine Griezmann for half the price and who will likely cause much less trouble over the next two seasons?
Arsenal manager Unai Emery has told both Shkodran Mustai and Mohamed Elneny it is time they left the club, according to the Mirror. Both have fallen down the pecking order and the club needs to raise funds as they rebuild their squad. The Spaniard told the press: “We now have some players who know their situation. For example, Elneny and Mustafi know their position in the squad and I really want the players to be happy here, I want them to be protagonists. Last year with Mustafi and Mo, when they didn't play they weren't happy. I spoke with them a lot of times last year and in pre-season, and I think it is positive for them to leave and sign for another team where they can be protagonists, be happy and continue their careers.”
Paper Round’s view: Mustafi has been a typical Arsenal defender is that he is nowhere near good enough to be challenging for the Champions League places, and Eleny is a mediocre midfielder. They are not awful but they lack the sufficient talent. Emery is trying to force them out before the end of the transfer window to make sure that any money can be used to balance the books or be used in January.
Crystal Palace are going to give forward Christian Benteke a new deal, as his current contract expires at the end of the season, meaning he could leave on a free transfer. The 28-year-old striker has attracted attention from China, while defender James Tomkins is also in negotiations. The Guardian believe the deal for Benteke is to preserve his value.
Crystal Palace's Zaire-born Belgian striker Christian Benteke (R) celebrates scoring a penalty during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Leicester City
Image credit: Getty Images
Paper Round’s view: Benteke is a striker who does not score goals and he does not do a particularly great job of helping the players around him - he seems completely devoid of confidence. As one of the highest earners at Palace to keep him on for longer, if only to sell him to China, seems to be a risk - that is why Manchester United still have Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo.
Watford have threatened to take away season tickets from fans who do not tell the club when they are not going to attend a match. That way the club can then sell the seats again, and give the money to the Watford Community Trust. The move has upset fans who feel they should not be punished if they happen to forget to meet the request.
Roberto Pereyra (Watford)
Image credit: Getty Images
Paper Round’s view: It is admirable that Watford want to keep their stadium full in order to help support the team, and also to donate to a good cause. However, the threat to take away a season ticket is typical of the bullying, hectoring and meddling tone that most clubs now use when they deal with their fans. At some point they will simply walk away.